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Old 08-03-2011, 06:45 PM   #1
Aurora1959
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Visiting SF? Consider swimming with the dolphins.

No Really - This isn't something that normally comes up on the list of activities for San Francisco. However, my son and I did this on Saturday and it was so great, I wanted to tell everyone here about it.

Where: Six Flags Discovery Kingdom Vallejo, CA
Cost: About $149 per person (less on park closed days and more if you buy a swim and lunch package) includes a picture by their photographer.
Who: Anyone meeting their height requirement that can swim. See their site for any other restrictions. (You are standing in the pool a lot, so they need to make sure you don't drown)
Length: About 2.5 hours from check-in to all done
What to bring: I wore my suit under my clothes all day. And then put it in a plastic bag after my shower. They provide a nice shower with body wash, shampoo and conditioner. And towels. So you might consider bringing a change of clothes. My son wore swim trunks and a swim shirt all day and really didn't care after he got out of the wet suit.

My experience:

We started by meeting at the Dolphin Discovery building. After everyone is checked in we went to the classroom where you learn all about dolphins. Did you know dolphins have hair? There's a quiz, so remember that fact.

After the class, you get into your wetsuit and swim shoes. They have lockers to put your stuff in. And our instructor locked the door so that nobody could get in there while we were swimming.

Everybody then goes out to the pool to meet the dolphins. This is done in a pool that is in the park and and park visitors get to watch you and be totally jealous. The bonus is if one of those park visitors is in your group, they can take 100's of pictures if you want - all for free.

They try to max each group to no more than 4 or 5 people, and keep groups together. Each group gets a personal dolphin trainer who will show you all the great things about your dolphin(s) and let you touch them. You'll get the opportunity to do a fin swim. They take lots of photos throughout the whole thing.

When you are all done, you walk back to the classroom area to shower. See note above by 'what to bring'. They only have 7 showers, so either be the first back or plan on waiting. They have plenty of hot water and towels.

Apparently dolphins in captivity only live about 25-30 years. They have this gal there named Terry that is 51 years old. And another one that is 31. So, this is really cool. My group got to spend lots of time with Terry, and I even danced with her and swam with her. She was so cool and mellow.

My son totally loved it and we are looking forward to doing it again. If you happen to come out to Northern California and want something a little different to do, I do recommend going there. We also spent time watching the tigers, birds, elephants and baby animals. I think total we went on one ride. My kids are so used to Disney and their efficiency that they were disappointed in the rest of the park. So we are looking to swim again with the dolphins on a day the park is closed.
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Old 09-23-2011, 11:07 AM   #2
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Hijacking here...sorry, but thought you could maybe help me out. We'll be visiting SF, CA in March (both a first for us). I was wondering what you and your kids would suggest for family activities on a budget. My DS will be 14, DD almost 18. Thanks!
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Old 09-23-2011, 12:20 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Soupermom View Post
Hijacking here...sorry, but thought you could maybe help me out. We'll be visiting SF, CA in March (both a first for us). I was wondering what you and your kids would suggest for family activities on a budget. My DS will be 14, DD almost 18. Thanks!
http://www.citypass.com/san-francisco
You may spend a lot of time shopping near Union Sq., Fisherman's Wharf, and in Chinatown.

Also take a peek in the cable car museum, the art and architeture of the hotels and buildings at the top of Nob Hill.

Last edited by skiingfast; 09-25-2011 at 06:07 PM.
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Old 09-24-2011, 12:39 PM   #4
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Thanks for the review. We go to Discovery Kingdom a couple of times a year and always spend time near the dolphin tank.
Sounds like an amazing experience
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Old 09-24-2011, 12:46 PM   #5
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Soupermom - definatly get CityPasses. We always buy them for any visit that is 3 days or longer, they very quickly pay for themselves. The last time we got them we got the ones with the Alcatraz option instead of the bay cruise.

There is a ferry that goes from the Ferry Buliding in San Francisco to Vallejo(home to Discovery kingdom). Its a great ride across the bay. We will occassionally stay in Vallejo, visit Discovery and then take the ferry to the city for a day
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Old 09-24-2011, 10:02 PM   #6
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Can anyone tell me where/how to purchase tickets for Alcatraz? I know I need to get them early...
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Old 09-25-2011, 11:35 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Soupermom View Post
Can anyone tell me where/how to purchase tickets for Alcatraz? I know I need to get them early...
Here is the CityPass with the Alcatraz option - as far as I know its not good for the night tour which is more expensive however as cool as the night tour is you do get a totally different experience on the day tour that you don't get at night because its dark and you can't see it all. We have done both and they both have their outstanding points
http://www.citypass.com/san-francisco/alcatraz

Here is the sight I use to buy Alcatraz tickets without CityPass
https://www.alcatraztrips.com/index2...FR9ggwodJT2OcA


The CityPass is an awesome deal - the Calif. Academy of Sciences alone is almost $30 for admission and the Exploratorium is approx $15. Then add the cost of an Alcatraz tour and you will exceed the cost of the CityPass.
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Old 09-30-2011, 01:46 PM   #8
Aurora1959
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March can be questionable with the weather. You're pretty likely to hit fog. However, if you are on a budget I really recommend the Golden Gate Bridge. It's a very nice park and the bridge is amazing up close.

I tend to stay out of the city myself if I can avoid it. I prefer places like Muir Woods. Some friends though absolutely love the Disney Family Museum. They say that if you want to do it right, you can spend hours in there. So maybe if it's raining you can consider that. Disney Family Museum
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